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History Prior to Amphodel:

years 2250-2750 -

Humanity teeters on the brink of complete unity for 500 years, until rogue entities begin sending AI virii to sabotage high-tech centers (mainly US, Japan, some Europe), which eventually are successful in inciting an AI revolt. (war proceeds much like Butlerian Jihad, but confined to Earth) AI ravages through much of high-tech centered civilization. However, US is able to dispatch nukes, used reluctantly on own soil. Rest of the war is fought conventionally, and eventually fight off the AI into retreat (compulsion to kill humans is not able to override compulsion for self-preservation). As AI retreats, they are able to get several ship launches off before humans arrive to destroy the remainder of them. This remnant drifts far off into space, eventually lands on a planet and starts an AI civilization. Without humans to compulsively kill, they begin to advance their technology at a rapid rate, due to their human-programmed compulsion to learn. Eventually, they rid themselves of the virus-induced compulsion, and even are able to create their own emotional centers, as an experiment which many begin to adopt.

back on earth, year 3000 -

space exploration begins again. computers are used as they were before, but there is a moratorium on the use of AI. In place of the usefulness of AI, pre-sentient algorithms (PSA's) are used for industrial/database/etc. work, and humans retake jobs as management. terraformation techniques are developed by experimentation on Mars.

year 3750 -

mars essentially terraformed, colonization starts.

year 4000 -

mars colonization reaches its peak.
enter rogue asteroid. apparently, an alien artifact is smashed upon its surface, which human civilization discovers and retrieves. in truth, this was an observatory satellite sent by the AI remnant to observe humans, but a freak asteroid collision in the asteroid belt left it plastered to a smaller rock. the remnant had expected humans to discover it, so they had an entangled array installed on the ship to communicate across the distance, which was one of the technologies which humans salvage from the wreck, though it is inoperable. the most important technology of the wreck was that of energy collecting materials. A surface for ships is developed which can convert many forms of cosmic energy (radiation, light, heat, etc.) into usable energy. And though the foldspindles and much of the folding mechanisms were damaged beyond comprehension, their existence on board allows scientists to make leaps forward towards folding. However, early experimentation with folding techniques leaves the Earth with a fold 5 miles in diameter through it.

year 4200 -

earth does not collapse to fill in the hole, because the space is still folded. eventually, fold reconnector tech is developed, and the fold is erased, which then causes the earth to fill it, causing some dangerous problems with earth's core, and the tectonic plates.

year 4350 -

earth is becoming uninhabitable due to the disruption of its geophysical cycle. volanic activity skyrockets, causing major air pollution, threatening the destruction of a great deal of flora, and, indirectly and directly, fauna (including people). thus people on earth begin an exodus to the moon and mars, causing a great deal of overcrowding and stretching of resources, in which the colonization effort is born. early scouting of potential planets reveals the Elysium II and III, (named elysium mainly for good PR) which scientists determined ought to be very similar to earth. resource/crowding problems create a fervor, which causes the media/politicians to invent the story that there actually is life on one or both of the planets, and that a ship must be sent in order to see if this life is intelligent, and greet it.
conveniently, since the search for true folding technology has been abandoned, the trip would require a very long time, and thus, a colony ship (requiring a great many colonists) would need to be sent to make it there, and if the one (or both) of the planets were uninhabited, to take up residence there. both planets, in truth, actually are inhabited, but only because the planets have been engineered to harbor planetwide ecological experiments by another, very highly advanced, race. (target of another book: colonists' landing, encounters with native life, observation by other race)

year 4450 -

Elysian colony ship departs. even before it leaves, it is touted as a great achievement for humanity. it is, after all, the single greatest feat of engineering ever created, if simply because of its size.
over the next 200 years, 2 more ships are sent out, both to different systems than elysium.

year 4650 -

Elysian colony ship returns. the progeny of the original colonists who went did not share their enthusiasm for colonization, and turned the ship back around and headed back to mars. lack of central guidance and education was seen as the reason for this. although the elysian ship is restored/retrofitted with newer tech, no AI is put on board as central guidance, due to remaining controversy (histories of the AI revolt are in abundance still). however, as an act of appeasement to the supporters of AI guidance, the Amphitrite project is allowed to put an AI on board the Neptune.

year 4725 -

Neptune I is sent out.
400 years into the journey, a riot breaks out on board that damages some factory facilities, many education facilities, and the entangled comm array, so communication is cut off. Sol humans take the mission for lost, and begin another Amphitrite project.

year 5225 -

Neptune II is sent out.

year 5825 -

Neptune I arrives, unbeknownst to Sol humans.

year 6325 -

Neptune II arrives.